Retail is under enormous pressure but is it on a death spiral? The fact is that it’s a mixed bag of data some positive some negative. Let’s take a look:

  • The U.S. has 23.5 sq. feet of retail space per capita. The UK has 4.6 and Germany 2.4.
  • The number of malls has increased at 4x the population rate since 1975
  • 50% of the store closings announced this year are represented by five retailers: Radio Shack, Payless, Sears, Gymboree and the Limited
  • Store openings are 54% in 2017 Y/Y. Thus number included grocery and convenience stores.

The reality is that it is a disruptive climate requiring retailers to be introspective and examine every aspect of their business. No sacred cows, no egos just one guiding question, “Where will my business be in five years”?

Let’s examine some steps you as an independent retailer can take to keep your business relevant.

  • Ask yourself what was your vision when you first opened the business
  • Has your vision changed or been updated to today’s retail climate
  • What is your brand?
  • What makes you stand apart from your competition?
  • How would your customers define your brand? Ask them
  • How do your employees define your brand?
  • Respond to feedback- Criticism is much more valuable than praise
  • Where will your business be in five years
  • Shop your competition
  • Shop your own store with a critical eye toward product assortments and displays
  • Partner with Amazon


There is a distinct difference between failing and failure. Failing is an active process of trying new things and quickly determine if they work, if they don’t adjust and try again. Failure is total resistance to change in a market place that is dynamic. Change is difficult but obsolescence is worse.